A cautionary tale for those who depend on Gmail, Google Drive, etc

TL,DR: Their Google account was suddenly banned, there was no one at Google willing to help, and the help they were offered was completely useless.

@Google my account has now been disabled for over 3 weeks. I still have no idea why, and after using every resource I have to get this resolved you have done nothing but given me the runaround.

My phone has lost access to thousands of dollars of apps on @GooglePlay.

I had just bought LOTR 4K and can’t finish it.

My @googledrive data is completely gone.

I can’t access my @YouTube channel.

The worst of all is losing access to my @gmail address of over 15 years.

I absolutely have not done anything to violate your terms of service, so I can take this no other way than you deciding to burn this bridge. Consider it burned. #Terraria for @GoogleStadia is canceled. My company will no longer support any of your platforms moving forward.

I will not be involved with a corporation that values their customers and partners so little. Doing business with you is a liability.

I mentioned this as a possibility in the thread Personal Email Service - Am I being too precious? but wanted to make sure this was seen.

If you don’t own the domain where your email lives, you don’t own your email.

If you don’t have backups of your email, you could lose access to it in a moment.

The same is true for your calendar data and your files (this is why Backblaze also backs up my Dropbox files, but it’s much harder to backup Google Drive files).

This could happen with any company, but Google is notorious for doing this, and even if you are a big-shot customer, that doesn’t mean you’ll get any attention from Google.

Choose wisely. Backup everything.

FYI - Horcrux is what I use for backing up my email.

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This thread/topic has peaked my interest again.

Would this story be different if it was a paid G Suite account?

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With a paid Google Apps Account (Suite) you get to talk to Google Support. I have called many times to Google Support and always was connected to a human. They have been always helpful.

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That’s really unfortunate. I hope it gets resolved. I can’t imagine not having access to gmail which is my primary account.

These kinds of stories are frequently surfacing, at least for me.

It appears if one has G Suite, one gets access to phone support where these kinds of issues are promptly resolved.

While searching for non-google alternatives, I came across, Fastmail, Runbox and HEY. Unfortunately, none of these offer phone support. Therefore, if something does go wrong, all you can do is email them. HEY for example doesn’t respond on weekends. Fastmail from personal experience takes at least 36 to 48 hours to respond. Fastmail twitter account appears to support my view

With that said, G Suite is starting to look like a solid GMAIL alternative. Most apps/services will support Gmail first. Mimestream and Mailman comes to mind.

One thing is also clear that it helps to have different Gmail accounts for different google services. So, if there is an issue with Gmail, your google photos are safe and vice visor

Very true. I am now heavily considering making the switch. I realized some foolish mistakes. There’s about 20 domains under my @gmail address probably not the best idea if I ever get locked out.

What’s the plan?

Just buy a custom domain on GoDaddy…and then purchase G Suite?

To Do Checklist (feel free to edit/correct please)

  1. Buy Custom Domain (awesome time thinking this one)
  2. Purchase G Suite and set users
  3. Change all logins for places (Banks, Utilities, Netflix, Amazon, Social Media accounts, etc)
    3a. Not sure about retail store logins
  4. Backup all email to the new user account
  5. Move everything from Drive, Photos, etc (not sure about Google Domains yet)
  6. Give it about 1-2 months for everyone to get the idea for contact
  7. Keep the @gmail for people to still reach you? But reply from the custom? (trying to think of places that display your email address and such)
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Do you not listen to any Apple based podcasts?! I mean, Hover has sponsored them all for years! :stuck_out_tongue:

Plus, GoDadday is supposedly a really crappy company.

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Lol. Some habits are hard to die.

I was at GoDaddy for a chunk of my life and then transitioned to Google Domains. I still have a few stuck at GoDaddy for certain reasons. But now I think I want to move everything out of Google Domains as well (or at least add a G Suite administrator to my domains)

Thanks for the Horcrux recommendation - never heard of it before.

In the same thread I also posted my opinion on “owning” your stuff. I own my domain, I own my email address, I own my email server. I am in full control of this, IMHO, absolutely vital means of communication.

While having their server is not a solution for everybody, I think you would be better off with any company whose core business is providing excellent email service. For Google, which is shady at best, providing email is just one among dozens of services and not a significant revenue share. It doesn’t even make sense for Google to provide excellent support.

@Lars I agree with you except for the above. Gmail, yes it has its issues but I think most people would accept that its reliable and it works.

When it comes to paid email solution, I would guess, Google has the most (maybe only second to Microsoft) customers with their G Suite solution. Also, I have yet to hear many complaints from people who are using G Suite. Their phone support is actually very good, having used it myself. More than happy to be corrected on this.

I also agree that it’s better off choosing a business whose core service is email. Fastmail in my view is the best in the business. Unfortunately, none of the those core email service providers provide phone support. Google does.

I would love to have my own server but I do not have the technical know how to manage it. I have tried, believe me but failed miserably :frowning:

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Update: ProtonMail also provides Phone :phone: Support

Had an SSL cert there years ago. They were charging $25/year, and it was set to auto-renew. When renewal came around, they hit my credit card for like $70. No notification of the price hike ahead of time, which I wouldn’t have expected for a minor hike - but almost 200% in a year?

Also, they don’t do pro-rated refunds in any form. Subscribe to email at a yearly rate, decide it sucks and cancel 60 days later, they’re keeping your whole year worth of fees.

Not a fan, personally.

OTOH whenever there is an issue , no mattter what time of day or night I can always get a human on theline who will stick with me until the problem is solved to MY satisfaction no matter how long it takes. And the person speaks English as a first language. I think my record for tech support was going on 9 hours solid as we worked through a nasty real time hacking of a web site that required a lot of back end work to get under control enough to start to fix the problem.

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Can someone back up just a step and expand on the topic of owning your email? I have several domains at Hover. Does this mean if I add the email address option that I would be “owning my email address”? I have never been a Google fan, so my main email is yahoo, which, of course, I don’t own. I’m now curious as to what this all means.
Maripat

Instead of having a yahoo or gmail or hotmail email account you will create your own domain and then have your own domain email account. So basically you will own your domain and the email. With this you pretty much get support from the email provider. You are not at their mercy for support as you are a paying customer.

Personally, I don’t think its anything to get worked up about. This seems like a fringe case, especially considering that the article is talking about a popular game (Terraria) being ported to an unpopular game streaming service (Google Stadia).

As for the game itself, it is late into its life at this point.

It’s not. It won’t happen to you. But it is a known problem. Ask any YouTube video maker, Google acts and it’s impossible to get a person to talk to in order to explain/fix it.

It is, but it is still very popular and still regularly updated.

I have Go Daddy as well for my website and I don’t like them either. How hard is it to use Hover to change everything over from Go Daddy? Do you happen to know? I’ll need handholding on this as this is not my area of expertise. I’ve heard good things about Hover, mostly from @MacSparky on the podcast.

If your email address is maripat@gmail.com (or yahoo.com, whatever.com) you are stuck with GMail (or Yahoo or Whatever). If the service closes, doesn’t work, loses your trust, or you just want to move away, you essentially lose the email accounts (yes, you might be able to redirect…).
Now, if you buy your own domain, you can essentially use any email server and point your domain to it. Your email@maripat.com address can be hosted on Google, FastMail, etc. If you change your email service, you just need to change the MX records for the domain.
You might think this is not an issue. What if hundreds of contacts/clients have your email, and you can’t move away?
Then you might rethink your choice of email service. Is GMail/Yahoo/Whatever something you consider safe, private, etc. enough? By owning the domain (and email adress) you can (almost) freely chose.
The next step would be control over your email server (self-hosting). While just setting MX records is pretty easy, this one requires more effort and knowledge.

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